Guardian Hack: “I’m a Dodger”

A classic snippet from Kevin Maguire’s column that Guido thought deserved more than New Statesman’s niche, and still declining, audience:

“Boris Johnson’s pledge to take the last of London’s bendy buses off the road by Christmas could prove costly for Zoe Williams, the Mayor of London’s foe-in-chief at the Guardian.Williams, I discovered, is a self-confessed fare dodger. Your columnist’s eye was directed to a hitherto overlooked admission in the pages of her rag. “I actually had a lot of affection for bendy buses, mainly because evading your fare was so easy that to pay was almost missing the point,” wrote Williams in May. “We used to call it ‘freebussing’. I said that to the photographer and she said: ‘But they only came in a few years ago. You weren’t 12 . . . You weren’t even a student. You were . . .’ I was 31. Can I be arrested for saying this? Ach, I will just pretend it was a joke.”

Do-as-we-say-not-as-we-do from a Guardian hack? Well, well. Perhaps Rusbridger can use the same “it was just a joke” line when it comes to their investment and tax affairs

Dan Hodges Joins Telegraph
Confirms Guido’s Scoop

After a bidding war across the mainstream media blogs, Dan Hodges has signed up to the Telegraph, which is sure to put a few noses out of joint.

“On Thursday morning I got a call from Throatdeep. There had been “an editorial meeting”. This, I knew, was bad. No good ever came from editorial meetings.

The party “incident” had been discussed. Ed’s team were apparently unhappy. Their people had been talking to our people. Three issues had been identified: me and Ralph Nader; the fact that week’s interview between Ed Miliband and Mehdi Hasan hadn’t been featured prominently on the front of the magazine”

He’s blown open the truth about why he left the New Statesman, leaving Ed’s office and the Staggers with red faces:

“And that was it. I shook hands with Throatdeep, in that awkward way men do when they know their paths are diverging. I should give it until Friday, he said. That was fine, I responded. Unless he heard from me, he should take it I’d resigned.

And resign I did. In that dignified and time-honoured manner so beloved of Westminster insiders: the story was leaked to Guido Fawkes.

Did I jump? Was I pushed? Did I flounce? The answer to all three is yes.”

Ed Miliband’s press office tweeted a public denial of any pressure from them:

Hodges has left some parts of the story in code. So Guido thought he would decrypt them for you:

  • “One long-serving staff member” – Mehdi Hasan
  • ThroatDeep – Obviously Jon Bernstein
  • Ms. OrangeTotal Politics political editor Amber Elliott.

Guido won’t hold his breath for an apology after the New Statesman trashed his story at the beginning of the week. He’ll let you be the judge…

Today’s Staggers Cover

Ed to Staggers: Rid Me of This Turbulent Hodges

The NewStatesman’s party on the Sunday of Labour conference usually sees the party leader turn up and glad-hand the great and the good. This year Ed walked in one door and walked out the other door barely stopping to shake a hand. On his way out he muttered dismissively that this was his “thirteenth event of the night”. Ed’s people let it be known that it wasn’t bad luck that he snubbed the Staggers, the primary reason for his minimal technical attendance was Dan Hodges’ article that morning attacking Miliband’s strategy as “bold, brave, and politically suicidal” calling Ed the “Ralph Nader of British politics”. You can see how that might hurt.

This brought about a managerial crisis of confidence in editorial plurality. Friends of Hodges say that he thought the understanding was that “Mehdi licked Ed’s arse and Dan kicked him in the balls”. In the Thursday edition published during party conference Dan Hodges’ article about the booing of Blair was spiked and didn’t appear in the magazine – in fact it ended up being published on IainDale.com. Hodges was told he would be rested from the magazine for a few months but allowed to continue to blog for the magazine. Friends say Hodges was told explicitly that the Staggers’ relationship with the Labour leader’s office was important and he was damaging that relationship. Hodges has now resigned.

Could Hodges end up writing for the Spectator? When Martin Bright was pushed out after pressure from Gordon Brown he shifted from being the Staggers’ political editor to writing for their more successful rival. All in all it reflects pretty poorly on the Statesman that it has caved into pressure like this again. The Speccie positively revels in poking party leaders in the eye…

UPDATE:

Well they would say that, wouldn’t they…

Mehdi Hasan, the political editor at the Staggers and sympathetic biographer of Ed Miliband has just tweeted, “For all of you asking me to #SaveDanHodges … I don’t want to”.  Hmmm…

Couldn’t Organise A…

Rather optimistically this email has just gone out to Tory and LibDem MPs:

Dear Colleagues

We will be sending you an invitation to Labour Party Conference Events shortly.

Most grateful,

From the Office of
Geoffrey Robinson MP
Chairman
New Statesman

Omni-shambles…

UPDATE: Why is Geoffrey Robinson MP using his taxpayer funded parliamentary email address to send emails out for a commercial organisation in which he has a financial interest? One for the Sunlight Centre to investigate methinks…

Quote of the Day

Prediction by New Statesman’s James Macintyre made 6 May, 2010…

“I predict that David Cameron, having failed to convince an intelligent electorate that he has fundamentally changed his party, will fail to form a government this week and will never become prime minister.”

“Make It Up” Macintyre Tweets Another “Exclusive”

James Macintyre no longer has a column in the New Statesman in which to share his insights. He now has only his Twitter to pass on wisdom. Yesterday he had a ground breaking “Twitter Exclusive” revealing that Gordon’s new book makes no mention of Tony Blair.

For Macintyre it is an exclusive from “a top Whitehall source”, for the rest of us it is a month old story we read everywhere. Wonder how his book is coming along?

Macintyre Retires

James Macintyre denies he was fired from the The New Statesman as Guido revealed yesterday. That’s not what the more than one source* from the Staggers said however, despite theiramicable departure statement. Though one source did say to go easy as he was a little “fragile”.  James claims he has left to write a book. Presumably fiction…

*Double sourcing, if only Macintyre had.

Exclusive: Macintyre Pushed Before He Staggers

Here’s a line Guido has been waiting to write for a long time – the New Statesman’s James Macintyre has been fired.

As regular readers will know Guido has had a less than cordial relationship with the thirsty sidekick of […]

+ READ MORE +

Boris Clashes With New Statesman

The biggest event on the Tory fringe this week is the Rally for Boris being held this evening, it will be packed – the Tories know Boris will be fun. Guess what time the Staggers have scheduled their party? The […]

+ READ MORE +

No Takers for Staggers Diane Abbott Victory Party

The word is that the New Statesman are having a little bit of trouble drumming up the numbers for their party at Labour conference this Sunday. Guido is surprised the finest and shrewdest political journalists of the left aren’t more […]

+ READ MORE +

Deficit Deniers Exit the Reality-Based Community

The knee-jerk reaction from the left to being called “deficit deniers” is nigh on hysterical, this morning Comrade Maguire over at the Mirror indulges in a ritual denuciation of Maggie, quotes Neil Kinnock approvingly and says “I’m proud to be […]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Tim Farron is asked by GQ how he will be remembered:

“I won’t be. So there’s no point in worrying about how you’d like to be remembered at all.”

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